Hightstown, NJ — Trainer Nancy Takter will watch trotting mare Manchego and pacing mare Kissin In The Sand compete for the final time Saturday at The Meadowlands, but also will get another look at two 3-year-olds that will attempt to follow in their award-winning stablemates’ hoof prints next season.
Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella will face five older foes in the $140,000 TVG Series championship for female trotters while 3-year-old filly Breeders Crown winner Peaky Sneaky will meet eight older rivals in the $150,000 TVG Series championship for female pacers.
“They’re both coming back next year, and they’re both really sharp at the moment,” Takter said. “I think they both deserve a chance.”
It is the second time 3-year-old fillies will take on mares in the TVG Series championships, which debuted in 2013. Last year, Warrawee Ubeaut finished fourth in the Mare Pace final and Beautiful Sin was fourth in the Mare Trot.
Sorella’s foes in the Mare Trot include 5-year-old Plunge Blue Chip, a world-record-holder and multiple Grand Circuit winner, and 4-year-old When Dovescry, who captured the 2019 Hambletonian Oaks and Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old filly trotter. She will not face Manchego or Atlanta, who will both race in Saturday’s $320,000 TVG Open Trot final.
Peaky Sneaky’s rivals in the Mare Pace include 5-year-old Kissin In The Sand as well as 7-year-old Shartin N, who was the 2019 Horse of the Year; 6-year-old Caviart Ally, who is the event’s defending champion, and 4-year-old Warrawee Ubeaut.
The four TVG Series championships are among eight Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday’s Big M card, along with the Fall Four for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST).
Sorella heads to the TVG Mare Trot off a win in last week’s Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. She has won eight of 14 races this season, hit the board a total of 12 times, and earned $713,049. In addition to winning the Oaks, she won a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in a Canadian-record 1:51.3 and the Reynolds Memorial in 1:50.2, which is tied for the season’s second-fastest mile by a 3-year-old trotter.
“The only way I was putting Sorella in was if Manchego ended up in the (TVG) Open,” Takter said. “I knew it was going to be a little bit of a short field, and I think she belongs in there. I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she’s done this year. She’s raced from the first weekend of June all the way through November. She broke a Canadian record, she won the Oaks; she’s had a tremendous year.”
Peaky Sneaky won the Breeders Crown last month at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, where she handed Party Girl Hill her only loss of the season. For the year, Peaky Sneaky has won six of 15 races, hit the board 12 times, and earned $482,622. Her 1:48 win in a division of the Glen Garnsey makes her the third-fastest female pacer of the season, behind only Party Girl Hill and Kissin In The Sand.
“She’s tough and gritty,” Takter said. “I don’t think she knows any different if they’re aged mares or 3-year-olds.”
Kissin In The Sand heads to the TVG final with a six-race win streak. Her victories include the Breeders Crown, Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. For her career, she has won 26 of 57 races and $1.66 million. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at 3.
Manchego, coming off the third Breeders Crown title of her career, and 5-year-old mare Atlanta both take on the males in the TVG Open Trot. Manchego has won 32 of 55 lifetime races and $2.56 million. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at 2.
In the TVG Open Pace championship, Bettor’s Wish will make his final career start against a field that includes Breeders Crown winner Century Farroh.
Four Breeders Crown winners also will be in action in the Fall Four: Lady Chaos in the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, On A Streak in the $398,650 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, Summa Cum Laude in the $371,900 Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, and Fire Start Hanover in the $323,600 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers.
For complete Saturday Big M entries, click here.